Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Red Garden The Complete Series Box Set OVA SAVE|
Actors: Melissa Davis, Brittney Karbowski, Taylor Hannah, Kara Greenberg
Director: Steven Foster
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
While alive, Kate, Claire, Rose, and Rachel each explored the streets of New York with the promise of limitless futures unfolding before them. But now, brought together as members of a blood-stained sisterhood, their once-... more »
A Domestic-set Horror Mystery
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 09/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Red Garden is one of those rare anime titles that slips through the cracks as far as placing it into a single genre is concerned. It spans a pretty wide variety of subjects and pacing but at its core is a basically a mystery laced with supernatural undertones. But before we get ahead of ourselves here, let's take a look at the hard facts.
Originally released in individual season sets by ADV Films, this set represents the first time the complete series with OVA is being released to the public. Coming in at a total runtime of 600 minutes, Red Garden The Complete Series spans 4 discs and comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within a cardboard slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate TV MA (17+) rating, which is due to some disturbing imagery and horror-themes and some segments loaded with gore/ violence.
Language options are typical sub & dub meaning the option of original Japanese dialog track (in Stereo) or an English dub (Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound) and English subtitles available under either language choice.
The breakdown consists of 22 episodes and the OVA, and of course, a nice host of Funimation trailers.
To explain the show to someone who has never seen it would go something like this: A wave of teen suicides washes over New York City (not Tokyo for once) and we follow the exploits of four teenage girls/ high school classmates: Kate, a rich preppy snob, Rose, family babysitter and modest personality; Rachel, party chick extraordinaire; and Claire, the quiet rebel.
The girls all wake up one morning only to discover that they cannot remember anything of the night before.
Things really get creepy when an old woman informs them that their proverbial cards have already been pulled and though they still appear alive, death is on its way to claim each girl.
While this all sounds terribly hopeless, there is a way to cheat destiny in that when called upon on certain nights, they are to engage in brutal and bloody battles against evil human-dogs. By day, they have to go on as if nothing's out of the ordinary (and here you thought staying awake in high school was hard enough when you stayed up to watch Letterman).
The visuals of the show seem to be either a love or hate affair (kind of like Gonzo's other contemporary remakes Gankutsuou and Romeo x Juliet). Gone are the typical wide-glassy eyes of anime girls and their place are bright, simplistic tones in the day, dark and gritty (borderline gothic) sequences once the sun sets.
The pacing of the show is nice and consistent with layers of the larger mystery (including what these seemingly unrelated girls have in common) being slowly revealed amidst the zombie-dog slashing action.
The voice work is fantastic in either incarnation with the English dub actually nailing the mood every bit as effectively as the original Japanese track maybe because its one of few anime titles out there set in the United States with English character names and locations. For once it actually feels like the English actors have a slight edge on the pronunciation angle.
Which brings me to my next point of interest: Like with past Gonzo properties, the attention to detail in setting and location is fantastic. Many of us have never been to Tokyo so we have to take their word for the accuracy but it becomes a different story when such national landmarks as those found in NYC become the backdrop. Gonzo deserves major credit for the scouting and research work that had to have gone into the production of this piece.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that this title is for everyone even though my critique appears quite favorable in hindsight. It takes a pretty unique set of expectations on the viewer's behalf to make the most of the experience. There are essentially two sides to the story: One resembles the atypical common cross-section of teenage schoolgirls and personality archetypes. The other could probably best be described as an animated version of popular survival-horror video games like Resident Evil. The blending of the two concepts work well in some segments but feel a little forced in others. In all though, it's nearly worth the price of admission just to take in the domestic visuals in the anime medium with enough of a mystery-driven story arc to keep the episodes moving along."
Intelligent High School Horror, with holes
Steve | Cheney, WA USA | 01/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Strange and horrible things are happening in the city, right under our noses, and most of us never find out. Those who do, often die. Four high school girls encountered the horror, and died. That's not what this anime is about. It's about what happened to them afterwards. Other reviewers have given a good plot outline, so I will content with what I liked and didn't like.
First, overall, I liked this. It's above average in concept, in character development, in dialogue. I own it and plan to watch it again. I plan to give it to my friends. It features a group of sane girls trying to cope with insane personal disaster. It's their story, and so we are spared the clueless, gormless, constantly embarrassed male co-star, or the loud and bratty little sister, or the overly moe pet. It's surprisingly quiet. Yes, there's too much shouting during the fight scenes, and some of the secondary characters can be accused of overacting, but it's not one of those anime where everyone teeters on the brink of adrenalin exhaustion. Each of the characters is a unique individual, and is believable, even when their circumstances aren't. Rose, for example, fighting to keep her family together and care for her younger siblings, with her mother in the hospital and her father run off, and no sign of NYC Family Services.
SPOILER ALERT, all the way down.
That said, there's plenty of plot holes, and your disbelief has to be hanged, not just suspended. We never find out why the girls were enticed to the old house in the first place, nor why they were killed, or why they were left. Was it all a plot to get one New Body? If they were recruited to fight the other clan, why weren't they trained to fight? Why weren't they given better (i.e. any) weapons? Then there's the pharmaceutical company, with their inept experiments. If the drug side of the operation is run the same way as their attempt to preserve a breeding stock, it's a wonder we're not all dead. What's the purpose of the red flowers and the butterflies? Wouldn't a cell phone do as well? Even a pager. What happened to the seed the girls planted at the cemetery? Why do the old New Bodied women die and dust when the curse is lifted, but Our Girls just fall asleep, and wake up immortal but without memories. These kind of gaps run all through the program. If you are the kind of person who can just say "magic" and ignore them, you will like the series. If not, you will have trouble not shouting at the screen.
In the end, the girls come to terms with their future, understand that they will be remembered (even though they won't remember), and win through to a hollow victory. Everybody dies. On both sides. Except them. The school and its island are covered in a Red Garden of flowers, where they awaken. That's when the fun begins.
For me, the post-season OVA (original video animation) was the best part. It takes place hundreds of years in the future. There are flying cars. The supporting characters are all future versions of the ones from the series (the two policemen are still on patrol, the same guy runs the hamburger stand). We have just spent 22 episodes establishing the characters, and now we can have fun playing off of them. They are all still biologically 17, even though they are chronologically (and emotionally) much older. Rose is more assertive. Rachel is a bit of a slob (showers are so much trouble). Claire is still driving her old car. They make bets on who can seduce the new transfer student. They fight crime while singing (extremely poorly) a song set to the music that plays for the setup screen. Claire builds a sexy female gundam style mech, one that ends up face down in the flowers of the Red Garden, with its bare backside in the air. Kate, less changed than the others, manages to shock them all at the very end, and I think I'll keep that spoiler to myself.
Not exactly what I expected...
Ergo Phoenix | Virginia, USA. | 03/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Spoiler free review! ^_^
Ok, I bought this series thinking it would be a weird mystery/horror anime...kinda like Ergo Proxy (My favorite anime of all time, search on Amazon and purchase it immediately!)
The first episode kinda reassured my expectations...and then the 2nd...3rd...etc went in a drastically different direction.
The story...was strange. It opened doors and then never shut them, but also in the same token closed doors that were never open. A little lackluster in my opinion, especially towards the ending episodes.
The art...was great. I really loved the artwork, it was very stylized. It left me with a cool/calm feeling everytime I watched an episode. Everyone literally wears a different outfit in every episode, and the scenery changes quite often.
Overall ending impression: Everything about Rose Garden made me feel like it was geared more toward a female audience. I kinda felt awkward watching it, but...it really was a relaxing experience from the horror/action/mystery I'm used to. Buy this if you want an Anime that is layed back and doesn't take itself very seriously.
Warning: This series does have blood/death/somewhat mature language, so I don't recommend it for very small children."